Sunday, January 31, 2010

The V Strom Has Arrived!

Things are coming around! I made my way up the the shop today to see the the bike and chat with Richard, the current owner. It was raining but I took it for a spin around the neighborhood just to get a feel for the set up, and it felt damn good to be on a moto. At this point Richard and I are making a plan for all the necessary paper work. It's a bit complicated but not impossible. Once the paper work is sent back and forth to the states, and the appropriate parts arrive in the next few weeks we can make the transfer. With all this to do, I'll be in BA for the next few weeks. It could be worse! And I'm starting Spanish classes tomorrow! It seems like a good idea since I will be travelling alone in very remote areas of Argentina and Chile.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Argy Polo at Pilar Chico

Argentina is said to be the capital of Polo at the moment. It's a sport that I had virtually no contact with, but was highly entertained today watching my buddy and his team play. I have been trying to get on a horse all week, but couldn't make the lesson happen. I'm a bit more comfortable on the mechanical horse, but I look forward to learning the basics of a new sport.

It was a bit of a recharge to leave BA and spend a few hours out in el campo. The area of Pilar Chico consists of some of the best polo fields in the world surrounded by lush countryside and fresh air.

New blog name.

If I plan on covering all aspects of this adventure, whether its the amazing taste of fresh Acai to the type of motorcycle jacket I prefer to fancying a game of Polo, I need to broaden the title. With the web address and the title of the blog different, I can see how it would be a bit misleading. Although the core of this trip will be based around the moto, I have been tying to experience as much as possible, and often with no relation to the moto. However, the new option DID arrive today and even though I woke up with a vicious stomach bug that put a damper on the days activities, I am still elated to go see it tomorrow am!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chompin' at the bit!

The blog has been a bit stagnant lately due to my preoccupation with finding another bike. I haven't spent much time in BA during the day because I've been stuck in the 'burbs tying to take care of business. But I have certainly managed to make it out at night for a proper bife (steak), red wine and some mingling with the Porteños.

Annette, the owner of the original bike I planned to buy took off yesterday for New Zealand, where she will be having surgery on her shattered collar bone before returning to back London for work.

The new prospect should be arriving tomorrow of Sunday. We will spend some time taking the bike apart, cleaning it and trying to make a fair deal for both parties. The bike I am looking at this weekend is a 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Although I had originally intended on buying a dual sport bike which performs well off road, this V-Strom may actually be a better bike for the vast expanses of the South American continent and still more than competent in the rough stuff. I admit, it may not be my favorite bike to look at, but as we all know, it's what's on the inside that counts!

In addition, this bike is outfitted extremely well! Check out the mods! But, I might have to do something about that silly flag :)

I don't want to put the cart before the horse, and I learned that the hard way, but I am ready to ride!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

My sweet little mess

I finally made it to the bike, well what's left of it. It has been taken apart for repair, although I am no longer interested in riding this bike through South America. I was optimistic that I would require some minor repairs, but there are too many unknowns to feel safe or confident riding alone for three months. I'm hoping to walk away from this one.

The windscreen is gone, and the front end (forks and triple clamps) twisted.

The rack above that was mounted on the rear was badly bent and would require a day or welding. Same goes for the racks that hold the side panniers on.

The subframe is bent, which makes the bike "totaled" in most countries. It could be bent back, but this is procedure is not confidence inspiring.

I want a new bike

Last week in Brasil I stopped in the local BMW shop to check some prices. They were extremely helpful but the taxes on these bikes make them terribly expensive.

Süd Motors of Porto Alegre, Brasil

To get the bike above, similar to my last bike in the US, would cost me around $30,000 USD used! This is obviously not an option, but I was dreuling over these rigs.

This 2009 R1200GSA goes for about $52000 USD, while we pay closer to $16000 in the states.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Making a plan in Buenos Aires

I arrived in Buenos Aires and paid an arm and a leg for a cab ride to Dakar Motos to find the bike, that I technically own, in pieces. Up until yesterday I was trying to remain optimistic that the damage was minimal and the bike still in proper shape for a 4 month solo excursion through some the the most naturally stunning and often desolate areas I have ever ridden. However, I'm feeling a bit discouraged and slightly overwhelmed. I need to follow my gut. I can't imagine rolling around a turn at 100km/h and having the slightest doubt about the condition or reliability of my machine. High speed, low stress!

Buying a new bike here is out of the question (too expensive and complicated) but buying another bike from the US is a fairly good option. There should be one or two coming to town in the next week or so according to some adventure moto touring forums and local contacts.

It's hard to say what I will do, and I can't get into the details, but I need to think hard about my options. Until then, I need to continue to enjoy my time in this fantastic city because I may be here for a while...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gramado e Canela

Eduardo and I left early yesterday and headed up an amazing twisting mountain road to a German colonial town called Gramado. Unfortunately, the rain was relentless but we managed to have a good time none the less.

Below: just a reminder...

Above: I can only imagine the view on a sunny day!

Below: A crazy little place called "Mini Mundo". Sort of creepy but entertaining.

Mini Ducati!

Below: a local Gaucho!

A fellow Moto tourer. I hope my bike is ok... Still haven't gotten and update. But I will be there tomorrow, so I will find out soon.

Above: They must be kidding! This is a traditional "Cafe Colonial" from the area. I can put down some grub, but this is out of control.

Below: the view from Eduardo's appt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Porto Alegre

I am overwhelmed with the endless hospitality of my Brasilian friends, some of which I have known for less than a month. I have yet to meet a Brasilian with animosity or hostility towards me. As a foreigner visiting another country we often experience negative situations, but everyone here has welcomed me with open arms. I am more than thankful for the exposure to their lifestyle and culture. I am in a city void of tourists (and Gringos) and see the day to day lives of southern Brasilians and I am learning a lot about the difficulties and limitations of some of my peers. My life is put into perspective, realizing the opportunities many Americans have. It is not that my Brasilian peers work less, are less intelligent or less capable, but may have many more obstacles. My friend has not been able visit the US because his visa was denied, for no apparent reason. Whereas, we can go just about anywhere we please whenever we want, funds permitting. I am incapable of fully explaing why things are as there are, but it is apparent that there is a strong social class separation and the government is said to be a bit corrupt. And yes, you can read about this from home, but being here, staying with people my own age, talking about dreams and ambitions and the ways in which to reach them it all becomes much more real. I am extremely thankful for my education, jobs, healthcare, food, water, shelter and all the other things which make my life comfortable and progressive. But I think that sometimes we have too much. We can get any material object in the world, and cheaply. But is that the point? Is that happiness? Don't get me wrong, I love my stuff, my moto, my pick up truck, my computer etc. These THINGS enable me and sometimes make me happy. But when I think about the abundance of material goods it makes me sick. I am not saying that everyone in the states is materialistic, but so many problems are coming and will come as a result of this excessive access to goods. I feel as though technology is certainly pulling us apart at times, when it wasn't meant to. I see so many people on their cell phone, laptop, ipod, playstation and not paying attention to their surroundings or getting to know the person right next to them.

Being here is exposing me to another way life that has many beautiful advantages, and it is also allowing me time to be grateful for my own. I hope to draw from all my experiences and create the life of BALANCE.

Above, a typical breakfast of bread, cheese, fruit and cafe. Below, some moto cops.

Good people.

My gracious hosts!

I love futbol!

My favorite Eduardo quote, "High speed, low stress"!